“But there was a more effective way of reassuring people that was being developed - that did not involve medication. It too came from computer systems, but this time, artificial intelligence.”
- Adam Curtis, HyperNormalisation, 01:16:40.
This is a replication1 of the computer program named Eliza, which was developed in the 1960’s by Joseph Weizenbaum. The program was built as a parody of the attempts at the time to develop computers that could think like human beings. Eliza was modelled on a real psychotherapist called Carl Rogers who was famous for simply repeating back to the patient what they had just said.
”That is what Eliza did. The patient sat in front of the screen and typed in what they were feeling. And the program repeated it back to them, often in the form of a question.” ”…everyone who tried Eliza became engrossed. They would sit for hours, telling the machine about their inner feelings and incredibly intimate details of their lives.”
”What Eliza showed, was that in an age of individualism, what made people feel secure, was having themselves reflected back to them. Just like in a mirror.”
- Adam Curtis, HyperNormalisation , 01:16:40.
”Textpert Empathetic Virtual Interface (T.E.V.I.) [an artificial intelligence therapist] is currently being developed by Textpert, a UCLA-based team of AI researchers, in collaboration with USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. The researchers estimate that the software will be maintaining full conversations by the end of 2018, and be working full-time as a therapist by the end of 2019. It’ll cost $9.99 per month, which is hundreds of dollars less than most people will spend on a therapist.”